Biblioteca Ambrosiana

Leonardo da Vinci goes digital

For the first time ever, an interactive application allows the public to browse through and explore all pages of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Codex Atlanticus.

This project has been made in collaboration with the Biblioteca Ambrosiana who preserves all pages of this historical collection of Leonardo’s work. The Visual Agency has curated all facets of this project from the creation of the data base to the design and development of the application.

Above: Sala Federiciana – original reading room of the Ambrosiana Library – where some pages of the Codex Atlanticus and a kiosk with the application are displayed

Play this video to see how the touchscreen works

The page graphic is generated on the basis of the topics covered on the front (recto) and back (verso) of each page. The different sections are displayed in proportion to the subjects discussed on the page and have been allocated five different colours in order to differentiate them. The indicators for the page number, represented by a rhombus joined to a solid line, and the year of writing, represented by a circle joined to a dashed line, are positioned horizontally along the width of the page graphic to correspond with the respective page number and year of writing. 

The bars that represent each subject are proportional in size to the frequency with which topics occur on each page, visually and numerically displaying the results of the selection. A list of topics will be displayed below the subjects and each entry can be selected in order to view pages concerning that specific topic in the General Overview.


The cataloging of the Codex Atlanticus is unique and will open new ways to study and experience this collection of texts and drawings and to dive into the work of one the great masterminds of history.

Philological studies have identified the year of writing of every page. The graph shows the number of pages produced each year, from 1478 to 1519. 


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